“The president emphasized his deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system,” the White House said in a read out of Obama’s meeting Thursday with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“He told the members that he has asked Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to do an inventory of the department’s current practices to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law,” the White House added.
Hispanic groups have been pressuring the president to take executive action to halt most deportations. Some Latino groups have dubbed Obama the “deporter-in-chief," pointing to a record number of such actions under his watch.
Obama has already stopped the deportation of DREAM Act-eligible immigrants, but has previously said he did not have the authority to keep others from being removed from the country.
Some conservatives have balked over comprehensive immigration reform, saying they didn't trust the president to enforce the laws on the books. This latest move by the White House is likely to stoke those criticisms.
Obama on Thursday also continued to press House lawmakers to take up reforms.
The White House said Obama “expressed his strong desire to work together [with the Hispanic caucus] to put pressure on congressional Republicans to pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible.”